Acid Reflux, Heartburn, GERD
With Rise MyCare, Acid reflux, heartburn, or GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease) is made seamless. No need for a waiting room to treat these very common conditions.
We offer coupons and help you find the most cost-effective RX. These medications can get expensive and we do not like that.
Prescribes are effective at preventing acid reflux. While antacids provide relief, it’s temporary. After a quick medical evaluation from one of our Board Certified Medical Providers, we’ll have your prescription ordered. We’ll connect you with the experts.
What is acid reflux?
Acid reflux occurs when stomach acid is allowed to enter the esophagus. The esophagus and stomach are separated by a seal consisting of a group of muscles called the esophageal sphincter. The sphincter usually remains closed until you swallow. With acid reflux, the muscles of the sphincter are relaxed and remains open. This can allow stomach acid into the lower esophagus and cause irritation.
What is Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease?
Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (or GERD) is when acid reflux occurs two or more times a week. GERD is more serious than periodic acid reflux, and can lead to more severe complications if left untreated.
What causes GERD?
GERD is caused by a weakening of the muscles that control the esophageal sphincter that separates the stomach from the esophagus. Several things can cause this weakening:
- Medications like antihistamines, calcium-channel blockers, asthma medications, and painkillers
- Hiatal hernia – a tear in the diaphragm that allows the stomach to move into the chest, unlike the more common hernia that can happen in the groin.
What are the symptoms of GERD?
- Heartburn – pain in the middle of the chest or upper abdomen
- Difficulty swallowing or a lump in the throat
- Nausea or vomiting
- Acidic taste or bad breath
- Shortness of breath
Diagnosis and Treatment of GERD
Our Providers will evaluate your symptoms and health history from our online questionnaire.
If symptoms are severe enough or persist once treated, our providers can discuss how an endoscopy or an X-ray barium swallow may be required.
GERD symptoms can be improved with lifestyle or dietary changes:
- Stay upright for several hours after meals. Laying down or reclining can allow food and acid into the esophagus.
- Avoid acid causing foods like fatty foods, alcohol, tomatoes, citrus fruit, etc.
- Avoid over-eating. Stretching the stomach will put strain on the esophageal sphincter
- Lose weight if needed
- Quit smoking
Antacids neutralize stomach acid and may help with heartburn and indigestion symptoms. They are available over-the-counter but may not work as well as other treatment options that our providers can discuss with you.
Some examples of antacids include:
- Milk of magnesia
H2 blockers help decrease acid production in the stomach. H2 blockers are used for faster or as needed relief than Proton Pump Inhibitors (see below). They are available over-the-counter in smaller doses or by prescription, which may work more efficiently.
Some examples of H2 blockers include:
- Ranitidine (Zantac)
- Cimetidine (Tagamet)
- Famotidine (Pepcid AC)
Proton Pump Inhibitors (PPIs) are medications that help reduce the amount of acid produced in the stomach and are used for long-term treatment compared to H2 blockers. They also help heal the lining of the esophagus. They are available over-the-counter in smaller doses or by prescription, which are which may work more efficiently.
Some examples of PPIs include:
- Omeprazole (Prilosec)
- Pantoprazole (Protonix)
- Esomeprazole (Nexium)
There are also surgical options to improve symptoms if the GERD is severe.
Complication with GERD everyone should be aware of:
- Esophageal stricture (narrowing) occurs when scar tissue develops where stomach acid has damaged the esophagus. The scar tissue leads to a narrowing of the esophagus and can make it difficult to swallow.
- Esophageal ulcers are caused by stomach acid damaging the tissue of the esophagus and causing sores. These ulcers can cause bleeding and pain, as well as difficulty swallowing.
- Barrett’s esophagus is a condition where the tissue on the esophagus becomes damaged by long-term GERD and is replaced by intestine-like tissue. Barrett’s esophagus increases the risk of esophageal cancer.